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10 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World

We all know that athletes make a lot of money, but do you ever wonder who the highest paid athlete in the world is? This post will present 10 of the most elite athletes globally and dig into what makes these individuals stand out in terms of salary. From football superstars to tennis icons and basket champions, join us as we take an exclusive look at who takes home the biggest paycheck from their respective sports. Learn which millionaires are due for a bigger payday than others and find out more about why they sit atop the list for best-paid players year after year.


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Lionel Messi – $130 Million


Lionel Messi, the superstar soccer player for FC Barcelona and the Argentine National Team, recently became the highest-paid athlete in the world. According to recent reports, he will now be making $130 million dollars a year. The incredible figure not only smashes his own personal records, it is just shy of 40% more than any other athlete has ever earned in a single year. It’s an astounding feat that once again demonstrates just how wonderful of an athlete he truly is! His immense salary combined with his on-the-field success show that Messi remains one of the most dominant athletes across all sports, and his future is looking brighter than ever.

Lebron James – $121.2 Million


Last year’s ESPN rankings recorded one of the highest salaries in sports history, earned by professional basketball player LeBron James. According to the report, James received a whopping $121.2 million – salary making up the majority at $53.3 million and endorsements totaling $68 million. This large sum is far greater than any other sports figure earned in 2017 and puts James in an exclusive league of his own when it comes to finances. He exemplifies excellence and innovation both on and off the court, which has made him not only one of the greatest athletes ever but also one of the most successful sport-related businesspeople as well.

Cristiano Ronaldo – $115 Million


Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly the highest-paid athlete in 2021. The Portuguese professional soccer player had a record-breaking year, with his earnings estimated at $115 million. This includes his salary from Juventus and endorsements from multiple sponsors such as Nike and Herbalife. While his salary alone probably could’ve secured him the crown of highest-paid athlete, it was his successful portfolio of business deals that pushed him to the top. Even after 20 years in the business, he still manages to attract attention and investment like no other athlete before him. Ushering in an era of self-marketing and innovative strategies to secure lucrative deals, Ronaldo has cemented himself as a legend of modern sports culture.

Neymar – $95 Million


Neymar, a Brazilian superstar soccer player, recently made headlines with his whopping $95 million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. This single transaction shattered records, making it the highest transfer fee ever paid in history. With his five-year contract, Neymar is set to make around $600 million during his stint with the French club – an amount not seen previously in Team sports. It is no surprise then why many have called Neymar as the face of footballing’s next “golden age” as he leads an era of player capability and athleticism beyond comparison.

Stephen Curry – $92.8 Million


Stephen Curry’s bank account recently got a major boost as he has signed the largest contract of any player in NBA history, earning him an astounding $92.8 million over five years. This is truly an impressive sum, but what makes it even more impressive is the fact that Curry has worked hard to earn every penny in his contract. Beyond being an incredible athlete, Curry is also viewed as a role model with excellent character off the court. His commitment to helping those in need through charities and philanthropic work has certainly been noticed by his employer and beyond. No wonder so many NBA fans are avid supporters of this talented sports icon!

Kevin Durant – $92.1 Million


Kevin Durant has certainly struck it big with his recent signing of an $92.1 million contract, making him one of the highest-paid professional athletes today. Heading to the Brooklyn Nets after signing a four-year deal, Durant will no doubt be putting himself in the best position possible to succeed. With fans already eagerly awaiting his arrival at the Barclays Center, Durant’s impressive career will surely only continue to be propelled forward by this lucrative move. Beyond basketball, this deal also shows that durant professionals can also be financially successful and make sound decisions when it comes to money matters.

Roger Federer – $90.7 Million


Roger Federer is easily one of the most recognizable, and wealthiest, athletes of our time. Last year alone, the Swiss tennis superstar earned a total of $90.7 million in prize money and endorsements combined – more than any other athlete during that period. His endorsements alone are worth upwards of 60 million a year with major brands such as Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse. In terms of prize money, he also continues to generate large amounts by competing in some of the major Grand Slam tournaments such as Wimbledon and the US Open. With estimated career earnings exceeding $400 million, it is not surprising why Roger’s name has become synonymous with success in sports and business.

Canelo Álvarez – $90 Million


Mexican boxer Saul “Canelo” Álvarez recently signed a record-breaking deal for $90 million with streaming service, DAZN. Álvarez is known for being an 11-time world champion across four weight divisions, as well as being ESPN’s highest-paid athlete, outranking the likes of LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo. After winning his last three fights by knockout, this new record-setting deal will see Alvarez fight eleven more times over the course of five years. As arguably the biggest star in boxing today, one can see why Streaming service DAZN would be willing to pay such a large sum for Alvarez’s talents. As boxing fans around the world eagerly await news of who will be Alvarez’ next opponent, they also need to remember that this historic deal proves that not only is money in punches, but big money too.

Tom Brady – $83.9 Million


Tom Brady recently inked a massive four year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth an astonishing $83.9 million. This makes him the highest-paid player to date, with the guarantee that he will remain the highest-paid for at least another two years. Many sports analysts speculate that this payday was Brady’s last chance to secure his legacy with a Super Bowl win, and thus there is no better time than now for Tampa Bay fans to start investing themselves in Brady as well as their favorite franchise overall. With his proven record of success and experience, it’s not hard to imagine that Brady can help create an explosive offense and put them ahead of their competition quickly. Although only time will tell if this investment pays off on the field, one things is certain, Tom Brady has shown us time and time again he isn’t afraid of big bets.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – $80.9 Million


It was recently announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo, the star of the Milwaukee Bucks and 2019 NBA MVP, has signed a contract extension worth $80.9 million. This new five-year deal makes the “Greek Freak” the highest paid player in basketball history, solidifying his place among the pantheon of all-time greats. It is remarkable to think that Antetokounmpo was a virtual unknown just seven years ago when he became eligible for the draft, having grown up near poverty in Greece with immigrant parents who were his biggest cheerleaders. In addition to his major payday and illustrious title of best basketball player on earth, this deal also cements him as a symbol of hard work and resilience on an international level. His story serves as both inspiration and affirmation that dreams do come true.



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